Thursday, June 23, 2005

Today's News

A 1991 United Nations Security Council Resolution decided that Iraq must "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision" all of its chemical weapons and such. In 2002, they unanimously passed another resolution offering Iraq a "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations." That's 11 years of pussyfooting around, and when the U.N. Security Council was going to suggest setting a deadline for Saddam to comply, France declared they'd veto any resolution giving Iraq a deadline. We know now that France was benefiting from the Oil for Food Scandal. Bear in mind that Saddam had killed thousands of his own citizens with chemical weapons. In 2003, the United States decided not to wait for the other U.N. countries; they accepted what allies they could gather, and then set out to oust Saddam.

Now the United States has been holding about 520 terrorism suspects at a place called Guantanamo Bay. The Red Cross has been allowed to interview the detainees and inspect the facilities. Their reports included allegations of torture and mistreatment of the Koran. The U.S. Government is going out of their way to provide suspected Muslim extremist terrorists with copies of the Koran, not to mention spending millions of dollars to provide them with "proper" Muslim meals, and they took this report from the Red Cross seriously and actually took corrective action to prevent these things from happening in the future. After Newsweek printed an article alleging serious desecrations of the Koran (which they later retracted), the military launched another investigation that revealed 5 cases of Korans being mishandled (2 intentional) and 15 cases of the detainees desecrating their own Korans, including trying to flush them down the toilet. The government has also conducted investigations into allegations of torture (obviously mostly allegations made by detainees and ex-detainees), and have found Guantanamo to be "being operated at very high standards." But people continue to compare the place to Nazi death camps and Soviet gulags, so some experts at the U.N. have blasted the U.S. Government for not responding to their request to be allowed to conduct an investigation of the facility.

Some quotes:
But one investigator, Algerian magistrate Leila Zerrougui, said: "The time is up. We have to act now. If not, we won't have any credibility left."

"At a certain point, you have to take well-founded allegations as proven in the absence of a clear explanation by the government," Nowak said.
It's kind of funny, in light what the U.N. allowed Saddam to do for over a decade.



Remember how the U.S. (specifically the Bush Administration) took so much heat for refusing to sign onto the Kyoto agreement? Well apparently the EU is having a hard time keeping their commitments, while "the United States has done a better job of reducing the amount of energy used to produce a dollar of output than the European Union has."



Now, while Democrats are busy fighting the Patriot Act and Republicans are busy trying to amend the constitution so that Congress can make it illegal to "desecrate" (i.e. burn) the flag, the Supreme Court decided that local governments can kick citizens out of their homes to make room for shopping malls. So while the Democrats are worried that the law enforcement agencies are going to start spying on people for fun, and the Republicans are trying to outlaw a very legitimate (albeit wrong) activity, the judicial branch of our government opened the door for cities to remove "problem areas" by inviting Wal-Mart to come in and kick the residents out. Has the world gone mad?

4 comments:

Mary said...

James,
I wanted to make a comment about the Kyoto treaty. and the US. The article that you linked to was written by a person in the "American Council for Capital Formation". Off hand, that says to me, to me that reads "People who want to make lots of money".

But I did a quick google search to find out who these people are, and why they would say things like this. (I'm not totally sure how to link... So I'll probably just cut and Paste)

"American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) is a think tank that prides itself on "economic growth through sound tax, regulatory, and environmental policies." ACCF is a very influential in Washington D.C. with ACCF's President Mark Bloomfield as being, "one of the most influential figures operating behind the scenes in the Congress," Robert Novak, 1997.

"ACCF has a conservative perspective of economic policy and favors policies that favor big business. ACCF's Officers and Board of Directors (http://www.accf.org/Mission.htm#anchor458426) included former high-ranking politicians in the U.S. government along with a who's-who in big business, including individuals from the American Petroleum Institute, Principal Financial Group, American Chemistry Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Business Conference, American Forest & Paper Association, Edison Electric Institute, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and other pro-industry trade associations and corporations. Individuals from the American Enterprise Institute, and the Hoover Institution are members of ACCF's Board of Scholars. "
(this came from sourcewatch.com)

Now, if you look closely, who would benefit in that list of entities that is or has been on the ACCF, that would benefit from the US NOT joining the Kyoto treaty.... Just about every last one of them. It seems reasonable that this lady is going to say that the US is doing better than Europe, because it is good for her supporters! That doesn't mean I believe her "facts". Please remember that staticticians can prove just about anything they want to prove with numbers, because of that very reason, I encourage you to consider the source of the information. When Europe comes out and says... "the US is doing better than we are in emissions, and in meeting the Kyoto protocols"... I will be shocked and amazed, and more likely to believe it, because it came from Europe, and not someone with ties to the oil industry.

I apologize if I came across too strongly. It's not that I believe that the Kyoto treaty to be the best thing that has every happened to this earth (believe me, it's not, it could be so much better), rather I believe that American greed is one of the worst things that has every happened on this earth and that greed is causing more problems, and that the people with money generally just try to dismiss it, and it makes me really angry. So for a person who represents various interests who stand to profit by NOT meeting more stringent standards of environmental reform, tells me that the United States is doing "better than the EU", I personally think that's ridiculous.

As for Guantanamo Bay, ... So because Saddam got away with supposed WMD and or chemical weaponry (which might I remind you that the WMD, were never found) for over a decade, we should be allowed to have our own dirty secrets? Shouldn't we increasing the level of liberty in all situations, not just the ones that make our personal lives easier? It seems natural to me that the government is going to find that they operate at high levels of standards, I don't feel that they would try to shut themselves down and admit blame? I can't think of a time in recent history where a government entity has admitted to crimes like the alleged victims are claiming.

so while I approach things from a different perspective and belief system than you, I generally agree with you that the world has gone mad.

I apologize for any offense. It's always hard to communicate passionately in writing for me.
Have a great day.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
said...

Thanks, Mary. I deleted your second post, since it appeared to be a duplicate of the first. It's recoverable, so let me know if there was something in there that you wanted me to keep.

I've responded to your comments on a new blog posting here.

mary said...

yeah it was. I have issues with this blog thing. Sometimes I lose what I write, and it makes me so mad.. . so I accidentally put it in twice. I didn't want to lose all the my work writing all of that! I haven't figured out the perfect system to responding. Whatever I click seems to be wrong.
And if this gets deleted, I'll laugh or cry, but probably won't re-write it.